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Vietnamese eleventh grader builds VW Beetle-style electric car

Sunday, December 09, 2018, 16:10 GMT+7
Vietnamese eleventh grader builds VW Beetle-style electric car
Ngo Viet Cuong’s electric car is seen at his home in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

A Vietnamese eleventh grader has completed creating an electric vehicle that has basic parts of an ordinary car and can carry two people at the maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour.

The 400-kilogram automobile, which harks back to the vintage Volkswagen Beetle design, was made by Ngo Viet Cuong, a student at Tong Van Tran High School in Nam Dinh Province, near Hanoi.

Cuong has been interested in playing with engines and mechanical equipment since he was a little kid.

His father, Ngo Van Ngoc, said the son had fun with new toys only for a few days before taking them apart and putting them back together.

The child also tried fitting machine parts into tools he found in his father’s automobile repair shop.

When Cuong grew older, he learned the basic workings of automobile engines while helping his father with sundry jobs in the garage.

In grade ten, the student told his parents that he wanted to make a car of his own but they initially disapproved of the plan, citing the son’s possible neglect of his studies.

But they later said he was allowed to pursue the dream as long as this did not hinder his academic performance.

Cuong took three months to design the chassis and engine components before assembling, welding and painting could start during the summer vacation prior to grade 11.

Ngo Viet Cuong’s car chassis is seen at his home-run repair shop in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngo Viet Cuong
Ngo Viet Cuong’s car chassis is seen at his home-run repair shop in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngo Viet Cuong

He used as many disused items in the repair shop as possible and asked for money from his mother to purchase expensive parts such as a solar panel and electric-engine controller.

The boy sometimes needed his father’s help and did research on the Internet when he got into car-making trouble.

He spent a great deal of time welding parts of the car body shell together to make them look safe and beautiful.

After four months of hard work, he produced an electric car whose equipment costs VND40 million (US$1,720).

Ngo Viet Cuong sprays paint on his car chassis at his home-run repair shop in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngo Viet Cuong
Ngo Viet Cuong sprays paint on his car chassis at his home-run repair shop in Nam Dinh Province, northern Vietnam. Photo: Ngo Viet Cuong

It has a steering wheel, brake, accelerator pedal, gear box, speedometer, speakers with USB ports and cable-free connection, mirrors, turn signal lights and windscreen wipers.  

The vehicle also boasts a sleek shell made from a standard material for cars while it uses motorbike shock absorbers that Cuong modified for greater effects.

The home-made car is powered by an engine running on electricity but energy from the roof-mounted solar panel goes only to the horn and lights.

Cuong said he would retrofit the car with an air-conditioning system to make the interior less spartan.

A solar panel on Ngo Viet Cuong’s electric car. Photo: Tuoi Tre
A solar panel on Ngo Viet Cuong’s electric car. Photo: Tuoi Tre

After the student posted pictures of the automobile on social media, people flocked to his home to see the vehicle in person.

Some wished to buy his labor of love but Cuong declined the offers.

“This is the first product I’ve made with enthusiasm and hard work. I want to keep it,” Cuong said.

The student added he admired Ferruccio Lamborghini, an Italian man who famously founded luxury sports car manufacturer Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. 

He plans to create another vehicle that looks like a roofless Lamborghini car.

Ngo Viet Cuong drives his self-made electric car in a test run. Video: Tuoi Tre

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Thai Xuan / Tuoi Tre News

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